Data Security

174 cities worldwide were infected with ransomware throughout 2019

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has released its annual report on ransowmare attacks worldwide in 2019. According to the report, based on publicly available statistics, public organizations in at least 174 different cities around the world were victims of ransomware attacks.

This represents an increase of around 60% in
the number of affected cities recorded in 2018. The report also mentions that
the ransoms demanded by threat actors can range from $5k USD to $5 million USD.
It should be mentioned that the bigger the ransom demanded, the more
complications ransomware victims faced, especially when they are small
organizations.

One of the aspects discussed in this work is
the role that cybersecurity teams of affected organizations play during the
incident response, which in conjunction with the not-so-recent policies against
cybersecurity incidents have changed in some measure the approach taken by
companies in combating ransomware, as well as the costs of recovering an attack
have been modified.

However, the most decisive factor for the costs
of a ransomware infection is the decision whether or not to pay the ransom. A
clear example is the city of Baltimore,
in the US. A few months ago the city suffered an encryption malware infection
and, after refusing to pay a ransom of a few hundred thousand dollars, the city
government began its recovery process, which was implemented with multiple
failures, which elevated the recovery costs to $18 million.

Attack scenarios also vary depending on the
affected city. One of the main scenarios relates to the use of remote access to
a system without proper protections, although the most important figures still
belong to two factors: social engineering campaigns and unauthorized access to
software without update, cybersecurity experts say.

In addition to local governments, one of the
new favorite targets of threat actors is hospitals and other medical services
organizations. According to the International Institute of Cyber Security
(IICS), more than 7% of ransomware attacks recorded globally in 2019 occurred
in public and private health care organizations.

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